The Pretoria High Court this week found a British multinational oil and gas company BP guilty of violating environmental laws.
The matter was brought before the court by environmental group, Uzani Environmental Advocacy, headed by attorney Gideon Erasmus.
According to Erasmus, between 1998 and 2003 BP built 17 filling station without the necessary environmental authorisation.
When the matter was brought to the fore, Uzani approached the relevant government departments mandated to impose regulations but he claims they were given the cold shoulder.
They had been extremely reluctant, in fact, they have opposed us in every single turn. The Department of Gauteng Agricultural, Rural Development and the directors of public prosecution were not helpful ...— Gideon Erasmus, Attorney - Uzani Environmental Advocacy
This left Uzani with no choice but to institute a private prosecution.
This is the first time in legal history that a private prosecution has been granted to proceed in the high court and I think BP thought they would be able to outlitigate us but they haven't.— Gideon Erasmus, Attorney - Uzani Environmental Advocacy
To hear the rest of the conversation, listen below:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Local lawyer makes history beating oil giant BP in court